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4 in 10 Hospitalists Report Unsafe Patient Workloads

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, January 30, 2013

He adds that as a practicing hospitalist who visits many hospitals and talks with hospitalists throughout the year, he is aware that many are very overworked.

In a phone conversation Tuesday, however, he cautioned that many hospitalists schedule their own work shifts, and may have only themselves to blame if their workload is too hectic.

"While some organizations (that employ or contract with hospitalists for their services) may have unreasonable expectations of what they can do, and that may lead to performance suffering, hospitalists may be complaining about some conditions they bring on themselves."

Hospitals that use hospitalists to manage care for admitting community physicians has been a dramatically expanding trend, with more than 34,000 hospitalists now practicing in more than 3,300 hospitals, according to the Society for Hospital Medicine. It conservatively projects the number to grow to 40,000 this year. In the late 1980s, Nelson notes, there were only about 200.

Of acute care facilities with more than 200 beds, four in five employ or contract with hospitalists.


Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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1 comments on "4 in 10 Hospitalists Report Unsafe Patient Workloads"


Rick Conrad (1/30/2013 at 4:17 PM)
1. If I remember correctly, JH is a teaching hsopital so each patient could conceivably have an Attending, a Hospitalist and for good measure, and internist. Not a bad ratio of physicians to patients. 2. Nothing was mentioned about Hospitalist enhancers like Practitioners and Nursing staff to lower the physician's intensity. 3. I agree with the comment that one should never let a working Hospitalist manage their schedule.